Chris Painter on “Fishtown Italian” and What Else Is Next


Ground floor changes coming to Chestnut Street.

It was a surprise to many when Chris Painter closed his semi-eponymous restaurant off of Rittenhouse Square. Luckily for fans of his cooking, he won’t be out of the kitchen for long. Painter has signed on as a partner with Method Hospitality, an offshoot of the ROOST Apartment Hotel brand that’s been founded by Randall Cook and real estate developer, David Grasso. ROOST hotels feature apartment like settings for extended stay guests. Catering to contract workers, the recently separated and others who may find themselves looking for a modern, attractive and fully furnished apartment. Where Painter comes in is in creating comfortable food concepts that fit with ROOST’s brand. Cook wants the first floor retail spaces of his hotels, including the just opened ROOST at 1831 Chestnut Street, to be enhance the hotel experience.

As such, the Rittenhouse Square ROOST is in the midst of shuffling its first floor retail. The optometry shop is gone and William Schwartz Jewelry will soon be moving across the building into that space. The move will allow ROOST to open up its lobby and add a coffee and wine bar to the location. Painter is planning a European wine bar with matching food. Expect wines and food from Italy, France and Spain. Rather than simpler, cheese and charcuterie plates, Painter will be creating a menu of composed plates but on a smaller scale. Similar to what Painter’s seen in Europe. The buildout should take a potential opening into the second half of the year.

But before anything happens at the ROOST Rittenhouse, Painter will be opening Wm. Mulherin’s Sons at 1355 North Front Street in Fishtown. The Italian restaurant will be situated on the first floor of the painstakingly redone building at Front and Master (opposite El Bar). Originally a whiskey company, the early 20th century building will have three distinct rooms, a bar, a dining room and room with wood-fired oven. Painter refers to the concept as urban, wood-fired Italian or as he prefers, “Fishtown Italian.” The restaurant aims to be the highest end restaurant in Fishtown, though if a steak off of the grill isn’t your preference, a pizza and beer can still be scored for under $20. The pizza program comes under the auspices of Jonah Fliegelman and Nathan Winkler-Rhoade, who have already given the city the Pitruco Pizza truck and the clever menu at Enjay’s within University City’s Smokey Joe’s.

If all goes well, Wm. Muherin’s Sons will open in February. After that Painter will move on to the wine bar and additional concepts that will be executed within ROOST hotels and at stand-alone locations.

Wm. Mulherin’s Sons [Foobooz]